The Easter Weekend Softball Tradition Is Here
The 33rd Annual Southern Shootout is set to begin this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama. The tournament committee has complied a 52 team field with the B Division, C Division and D Division being represented. All of the games will be played under the new NAGAAA ratings structure making it the 3rd tournament so far in 2015 to test out the adjusted player and team ratings caps.
Birmingham doesn’t have a particularly large NAGAAA affiliated league, however the New South Softball League routinely draws over 50 teams per year to its flagship tournament. Joe Walding is the co-director of the 2015 Southern Shootout and he is excited about this weekend’s tournament. “I am ecstatic about this field of teams. We have 42 out of 52 teams from elsewhere traveling to Birmingham to play. We have teams from Atlanta, Knoxville, Nashville, Columbus, Tampa, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Washington DC, Charlotte and Toronto,” said Walding.
Location is a big key in why Birmingham continues to be such an attractive spot for teams to travel to, especially in the Southeast. This year, not only are Southeastern teams represented, but having teams travel from Toronto and Columbus further legitimizes the Southern Shootout as one of the best and most tradition rich tournaments in the country. “The Southern Shootout is the oldest gay softball tournament in the tournament besides the GSWS. Our tournament is full of tradition. Plus, our registration party on Friday night is legendary,” said Joe Walding, tournament co-director.
In addition to that legendary registration party on Friday night at the host hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton Birmingham, there will be a closing party at Al’s on Seventh on Sunday night where awards will be handed out. Other sponsors of the 2015 Southern Shootout include Our Place, The Quest, Regions Bank, Romeo’s Sporting Goods, Supreme Beverage, Miller Beer, and Birmingham Pride 2015.
Joe was also able to report to us on the most important issue regarding the Southern Shootout….food. “We have two food trucks confirmed for the tournament, Slice and iCantina. Both will be serving on Saturday and Slice will be there on Sunday,” said Walding.
The Easter Weekend tradition should be the best version. Joe Walding and his tournament committee have done a great job in planning this year’s tournament that should see some fierce competition on the field and lots of fun off of it. We’ll go ahead and say a prayer ahead of time that nobody misses their early morning games due to all of the adult beverages that will be present at the registration party! Good luck to all of the teams in the tournament and safe travels to all of the teams coming into Birmingham from out-of-town!
*Special thanks to Joe Walding, Southern Shootout Co-Director for all of his help with this article.*